Tuesday, February 27, 2018

BELTS ON THE LINE

July 16, 1963
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA


REGGIE PARKS

JOHNNY WEAVER

BRONCHO LUBICH, HOMER O'DELL, ALDO BOGNI
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Wrestling fans who like tag team action will get a double dose in an all-star card at the LEXINGTON YMCA tonight.

The SOUTHERN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS RAY ANDREWS and ERIC POMEROY will defend their honor and titles against the rugged team of ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH, who will be directed by their cunning and strutting manager, HOMER O'DELL.

Popular stars JOHNNY WEAVER and REGGIE PARKS return after an absence joining forces to face the duo of big and round guys GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS and GEORGE 'CRYBABY' CANNON in another top event.

Both main events are set for the best two-out-of-three falls.

Two more big men, PAT O'HARA and FRANK VALOIS, will square off in the 8:15 opener.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

JOHNNY & ART BATTLE KANGAROOS



After nearly a decade as the top tag team in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER were no more. In the early 1970s, Becker left JCP and soon after started his own wrestling organization, going head-to-head with the company he had led for the past twenty years.

During the 1950s and 1960s, George Becker beat The Great Bolo, Pancho Villa, Bull Ramos, Rip Hawk, Homer O'Dell, Skull Murphy, Bronco Lubich and every other opponent he faced.

But George couldn't beat Jim Crockett, and the Becker wrestling empire never came to be.

Meanwhile, JOHNNY WEAVER remained as Crockett's top babyface, for a while anyway, much to my delight. But he needed a partner to replace Becker.

That partner came as Argentina Apollo. But it didn't last very long, as Apollo wanted to leave the wrestling business to paint (pictures, not kitchens). And he did. He eventually opened an art gallery in my hometown of Statesville, North Carolina.

The Weaver / Apollo team's biggest feud was probably with Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson, who, at the time, were managed by 'Playboy' Gary Hart.

I attended the match in Greensboro in which Hawk and Hansen "injured" Apollo's leg. It was this same night that Weaver's nemesis ART NELSON (Neilson) became Weaver's friend and new tag team partner.

A short time later the man from the Argentine wrestled Rip Hawk on WGHP-TV's CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING program. As Wally Dusek made the ring announcements, I thought to myself that this is going to be a great match. Apollo getting "payback" for Hawk's hurting his leg.

Wrong. A total squash match with Rip using the piledriver on Apollo in the middle of the ring, followed by a clean pin.

Then I realized that Apollo was done. The next time I saw him was at his art gallery, when he made it pretty clear he didn't want to talk wrestling. He was an artist, not a grappler.

So now, JOHNNY WEAVER and ART NELSON were tag partners. This didn't last that long either, but during their time together, J&A had some great feuds with the likes of HAWK & HANSON and the return from Georgia of THE ASSASSINS (Jody Hamilton and Tom Renesto) and a new team to CROCKETT territory, THE ROYAL KANGAROOS (Lord Jonathan Boyd and his cousin Norman Frederick Charles III).

These men from "down under" were as mean, rough and nasty as anyone I had ever seen. They went through opponents like, what was it General Patton said, "crap through a goose," and it seemed no one could beat them.

So it was time to send the Roos against Johnny and Art, who had defeated The Bolos for the Brass Knuckles Tag Team Championship.

So I trucked down to Charlotte's Park Center that Monday night to see Johnny and Art put a whoopin' on those big-talking Australians.

I sat in disbelief as The Royal Kangaroos, with the aid of skullduggery and a couple of wooden boomerangs, beat Weaver and Nelson in two STRAIGHT falls. Johnny and Art didn't really get in the groove. In short, they took a whoopin'.

I thought to myself that this was the end of JOHNNY WEAVER as the King of Crockett Promotions, but it wasn't. Looking back, I now see that this match I saw was just getting the Kangaroos over as a real threat to everyone.

Weaver and Nelson would go on to battle these ruffians for months all over the territory, with the Brass Knucks trophy as the prize.

Eventually, Lord Boyd, cousin Norman and even Art left JCP. But Johnny Weaver remained, so all was still right with the wrestling world.

Friday, February 23, 2018

TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME

On a summer afternoon in 1987, in Charlotte, North Carolina, CROCKETT PARK was the scene of one of the most fascinating sports competitions in the Tarheel state's history.
It wasn't Duke playing North Carolina, it wasn't the LA Dodgers against the SF Giants, not even the Boston Red Sox against the NY Yankees.
On this day, before the birth of the CHARLOTTE HORNETS, the CAROLINA PANTHERS or the CHARLOTTE BOBCATS, the professional wrestlers of JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS took on a team of employees of the Queen City's WSOC RADIO station for a softball charity fund raiser.

'The Russian Nightmare' NIKITA KOLOFF plays his left field postion. (It is rumored that Nikita tried to 'sickle' the home plate umpire on a disputed called third strike.)

Rock 'n' Roll Expresser RICKY MORTON makes a great play at shortstop.

'Hands of Stone' RONNIE GARVIN warms up to pitch for JCP.

BARRY WINDHAM takes his cuts at the plate.

A look into the MID-ATLANTIC dugout (how many can you name?)

Oh yes, if you're interested, the boys of JCP won the game 4 - 0.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

DUST OFF THE WAYBACK MACHINE

It would take a visit from baby boomers' Saturday morning cartoon buddies Sherman and Peabody and their Wayback Machine to witness the JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS wrestling card that occurred fifty-five years ago, but I'd give almost anything if I could.


January 26, 1963
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

GEORGE BECKER

BILLY TWO RIVERS

THE SICILIANS
LOU ALBANO and TONY ALTOMARE

P.Y. CHUNG

THE KENTUCKIANS
TINY ANDERSON and BIG BOY BROWN
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The two winning teams on last week's wrestling card at the LEXINGTON YMCA will be back tonight to meet top competition in an action-packed program that kicks off at 8:15 p.m.

In one of two main events, the rugged team of THE SICILIANS, LOU ALBANO and
TONY ALTOMARE, victors last Saturday, face stellar competition in the very-popular duo of GEORGE BECKER and Mohawk warrior BILLY TWO RIVERS.

Crafty Oriental judo wizards, P.Y CHUNG and YASHINO SATO *, also winners last week, will be in the unenviable position of meeting one of the largest tag teams in the wrestling business when they clash with THE KENTUCKIANS, BIG BOY BROWN and TINY ANDERSON. These two fellows top the scales at a combined 700-plus pounds and dwarf the Orientals in height.

Both tag team main events are scheduled for the best two-out-of-three falls.

A singles match featuring a local hero will open the card when Asheboro's own LARRY HULIN meets the wily veteran TINKER TODD.


* YASHINO SATO later wrestled in the MID-ATLANTIC territory as THE GREAT KABUKI.

Monday, February 19, 2018

THE HEAVYWEIGHTS! THE LADIES! THE MIDGETS!


JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS gave us the BEST!

LITTLE BEAVER press slams SKY LOW LOW.

'The Big O' BOB ORTON dishes out a piledriver to a helpless opponent.
(Orton was the first wrestler I saw who used that dreaded maneuver.)

Referee ANGELO MARTINELLI watches OLE ANDERSON lay into TERRY KAY.

Top women stars PENNY BANNER and THE FABULOUS MOOLAH in action.

THE KENTUCKIANS BIG BOY BROWN and TINY ANDERSON loosen up before a big match.

One of THE INFERNOS has a long night in the ring.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

MID-ATLANTIC RING ACTION

As the years rolled by, the faces changed, but JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS always gave its MID-ATLANTIC fans great mat stars and great matches...
---
Do you remember these...

HIRO MATSUDA and THE MISSOURI MAULER double team THE AMAZING ZUMA.

MR. WRESTLING (TIM WOODS) dares 'Cowboy' RON BASS to get back into the ring.
In fact, he triple-dog dares him...

Referee TOMMY YOUNG looks on as GREG VALENTINE applies a chin lock to JOHNNY WEAVER.

'Big' IKE EAKINS is about to slam his face into GEORGE BECKER's fist.

PANCHO VALDEZ has a blonde LES THATCHER in a bad way.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

DEMONS AND BOMBERS

October 1, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON

PAUL DEMARCO

BOBBY SHANE

THE MASKED RED DEMONS
with GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS

PENNY BANNER versus TAMMY JONES
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A BATTLE OF THE BULLIES features professional wrestling tonight at the LEXINGTON YMCA with super roughnecks RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON going against the rowdy duo of THE MASKED RED DEMONS.

Both teams are known for their rough natures and lack of respect for the rules, and meeting each other tonight should pack quite a wallop. Fans who like it rough and tough should really get into this two-out-of-three falls battle.

Girl wrestlers will meet in a special one-fall event with the area's foremost female grappler, PENNY BANNER, meeting newcomer TAMMY JONES. Scouting reports on Miss JONES suggest she sometimes acts very unlady-like.

Popular and speedy BOBBY SHANE goes against the heavyweight veteran GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS, and sometimes SHANE partner, PAUL DEMARCO, meets a tough one in the likes of 'BIG BOY' BLONDELL in supporting matches.

The first bell rings at 8:15 p.m.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

GERMANS VERSUS NATIVE AMERICANS

January 22, 1966
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

VON STROHEIM

SUNI WAR CLOUD
(looks a bit like Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, doesn't he?)

'The Big O' BOB ORTON SR.

BILLY TWO RIVERS

BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY
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A rough and rugged pair of German brothers will make their LEXINGTON YMCA debut tonight in the main event of professional wrestling action.

The big bruisers, KURT and HENRY VON STROHEIM, who tip the scales at a combined 510 pounds, will face a very popular duo of Indian mat stars in the guise of BILLY TWO RIVERS and SUNI WAR CLOUD.

The current SOUTHERN HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION, 'The Big O' BOB ORTON will face newcomer KARL GOTCH in a non-title match. A GOTCH victory would propel him to the top of the list of contenders for the title.

More tag team action is slated as fan favorites STEVE BOLUS and OMAR ATLAS will collide with the Irish / Canadian skinhead bully team of BRUTE BERNARD and SKULL MURPHY, who are returning to the area after a long absence.

Both tag team matches are set for the best-of-three falls.

Another singles match will open the card at 8:15.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

BROTHERS BATTLE BROTHERS


August 14, 1965
LEXINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA

GEORGE 'CATALINA' DRAKE

'ROWDY' RED ROBERTS

SANDY and GEORGE SCOTT

STEVE BOLUS

JOHN and CHRIS TOLOS
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Popular GEORGE and SANDY SCOTT, better known in professional wrestling circles as THE FLYING SCOTTS, will face another top-rated team of brothers, JOHN and CHRIS TOLOS, nicknamed THE MICHIGAN WRECKING CREW, in tonight's main event of wrestling at the LEXINGTON YMCA starting at 8:15.

This two-out-of-three fall headliner tops a four match card that includes standout singles competition as well.

GEORGE 'CATALINA' DRAKE and PEDRO ZAPATA will oppose one another in the top prelim.

Young STEVE BOLUS goes up against tough guy FELIX LAMBAN.

Two Lexington newcomers will meet when the rugged 'ROWDY' RED ROBERTS faces the young Indian star SUNI WAR CLOUD.

Friday, February 9, 2018

QUEEN CITY WRESTLING - 1963


July 15, 1963
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

JOHNNY WEAVER

JOHNNY 'RUBBERMAN' WALKER

JOHN and CHRIS TOLOS

GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS

RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON

JESSE JAMES

GEORGE 'CRYBABY' CANNON
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Six man tag team action, one of the wildest, rowdiest forms of professional wrestling, will head up tonight's big card at Charlotte's PARK CENTER. Belltime is 8:15.

Making up one trio of the big scuffle will be wrestling's 'BLONDE BOMBERS', RIP HAWK and SWEDE HANSON, who will be joined by GEORGE 'TWO TON' HARRIS, and opposing this rugged threesome will be fan favorites JOHNNY WEAVER, 'COWBOY' JESSE JAMES and JOHNNY 'RUBBERMAN' WALKER.

This main event is scheduled for the best two-out-of-three falls with a one hour time limit.

There's also standard four man tag action in the semifinal, this one matching two brother teams against one another, when JERRY and BOBBY CHRISTIE face rulebreakers JOHN and CHRIS TOLOS, known as THE MICHIGAN WRECKING CREW.

The best-of-three falls will also settle this one.

In singles competition, PAT O'HARA meets the girth of GEORGE 'CRYBABY' CANNON, and popular REGGIE PARKS takes on JOE McCARTY, a newcomer from (honestly, he says) Tigertail, Tennessee.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

HOMER'S BOYS MEET THE BOLOS

APRIL 6, 1964
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

There's wrestling tonight at Charlotte's PARK CENTER, but can the building sustain the explosion?

That will be the big question when the rugged masked combo of THE GREAT BOLO and BOLO return for main event action...this time against the equally rough duo of ALDO BOGNI and BRONCHO LUBICH, who will have their manager HOMER O'DELL in their corner.

Both teams have long winning streaks going, and tonight's victor should emerge as a major challenger for the Southern Tag Team Championship. The bout is slated for two-of-three falls, one hour time.

The semi-final sends TOMMY O'TOOLE against TINY ETCHISON in a one fall contest.

The undercard is topped by a tag team affair which will pit ALEX MEDINA and GINO BRANDO opposite GENE MURPHY and JOE TOMASSO in a two-out-of-three falls affair.

The 8:15 opening match sends BOBBY HART against FRANK VALOIS.

Monday, February 5, 2018

CHARLOTTE - 57 YEARS AGO

October 9, 1961
CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA

SWEDE HANSON

KURT and KARL VON BRAUNER

RIP HAWK

EDDIE GRAHAM
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The rugged German team of brothers KURT and KARL VON BRAUNER has become the scourge of tag team wrestling in the Carolinas, and they're reveling in the notoriety.

And the team that would like most to unseat the vicious Germans as tag team 'kingpins', SWEDE HANSON and DR. EDDIE GRAHAM, gets another chance in the headliner of tonight's PARK CENTER wrestling card.

HANSON and GRAHAM have lost two furious bloody bouts to the VON BRAUNERs recently and are greedy for revenge. They'll get one hour and two-of-three falls to pull off the whipping they're predicting they will dish out to the Germans.

The card's semi-final event has TOM BRADLEY going against fan favorite GEORGE BECKER, and the main prelim sends DON McCLARITY against RIP 'THE PROFILE' HAWK.

Action kicks off at 8:15.